Drywood Termites Are Almost Never Visible, But They Can Be Heard

December 11th, 2017

Drywood Termites Are Almost Never Visible, But They Can Be Heard

Here in the United States, subterranean termite infestations occur far more frequently than infestations of drywood termites. However, drywood termites are still a threat to property owners, as they cause millions of dollars in property damage each year. Drywood termite infestations are also rarely, if ever, noticed by homeowners. Seeing these termites is next to impossible since they are so tiny in size. Because these insects are invisible, most homeowners only learn of an infestation after property damage has already occurred. These termites can be seen as they are swarming, but swarms do not last long. Of course there are certain signs that someone may have a drywood termite infestation, such as termite droppings or mysterious sawdust sightings. But these signs may occur in areas that are obscured or are located out of sight. Since these insect pests are so tiny, researchers have long been curious about possible termite pinpointing methods. Luckily, researchers have long known that termites make noise, especially when they are feeding. This is why scientists have recently proven that drywood termites can be successfully located and tracked with certain devices that hone in on the sound and vibrations that are produced by active drywood termites.

Detecting the presence of drywood termites can be a challenging task. But researchers know that infestations occur after seasonal swarms. Unfortunately, the colonies that are established afterwards are difficult to locate once they have colonized wood. A group of researchers managed to successfully locate drywood termites within particular timber logs when using acoustic emission (AE) technology. This technology allows users to hear the movement of termites. Termites produce the greatest amount of noise during foraging and feeding activities. This is when AE technology can be used to successfully amplify their sounds. Due to this technology, termite inspections could be conducted more quickly in the future, and scientists could learn more about the seasonal feeding and foraging habits of elusive drywood termites.

Do you think that termite inspections will become more technologically advanced in the future with devices that use AE technology?





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December 2017